Airborne environmental DNA captures terrestrial vertebrate diversity in nature

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The current biodiversity and climate crises highlight the need for efficient tools to monitor terrestrial ecosystems. Here, we provide evidence for the use of airborne eDNA analyses as a novel method to detect terrestrial vertebrate communities in nature. Metabarcoding of 143 airborne eDNA samples collected during three days in Åmosen Nature Park, Denmark yielded 64 bird, mammal, fish and amphibian taxa, representing about a quarter of the around 210 wild terrestrial vertebrates that have been registered in the greater Åmosen area through years of compiling observational data. We provide evidence for the spatial movement and temporal patterns of airborne eDNA and for the influence of weather conditions on vertebrate detections. This study demonstrates airborne eDNA for high-resolution biomonitoring of vertebrates in terrestrial systems and elucidates its potential to guide global nature management and conservation efforts in the ongoing biodiversity crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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